Read 2 Chronicles 13
Focus on verse 17-18
I always enjoy watching a sporting event where the “underdog” wins. All the predictions of the pundits give the game to the stronger team, but somehow the weaker team manages an upset victory.
Today’s reading is about an upset victory by King Abijah’s clearly outnumbered and out gunned army. In this case the victory goes to Judah even though they were outnumbered two to one and out maneuvered by Jeroboam’s army. The odds were against Abijah yet he was victorious… why? Not because he was smarter, not because he had more heart, but rather simply because he trusted in the Lord and presumably walked in obedience to Him.
Now, does this mean that all we have to do is declare we that God is on our side and we have a guaranteed victory? There are moments in Israel’s history where this was the expectation despite the fact that the people were not walking in obedience to the Lord. On some of those occasions they were sorely disappointed.
There have also been moments in the more recent history of western civilization when armies have opposed each other and both sides have claimed that God is on their side. How does God decide in such a case? What if both sides involved in the battle have no knowledge of the Lord, does He then simply allow the stronger to triumph over the weaker?
There is a thread of evidence in the scriptures that supports the notion that God tends to give victory to those who are faithful to Him. What confuses us most often is when we define victory by our own standards rather than God’s. There are times in Israel’s history when very faithful people like Daniel and his buddies, get dragged off into captivity. Did Daniel have victory? Certainly not in the national or political sense as the nation of Israel was destroyed by the Babylonians. There is however, a sense in which Daniel’s faithfulness did gain him victory in the way he was faithful to God as a captive. God was very active in giving Rack Shack and Benny the victory when the king tossed them into the fiery furnace…when they walked out unharmed they had everyone’s attention and respect. The same was true of Daniel when he survived a night in the lion’s den. I would call that a clear victory for Daniel and an upset for those who opposed him.
God is always faithful to those who trust Him according to His will, and that right there might just be the hitch most of us trip over. If I declare that I am trusting God to miraculously turn me into a millionaire overnight, will He do it? The answer is…”only if I am trusting according to His will.”
Abijah was apparently trusting the Lord according to His will – which was evident in his behavior prior to the battle in the manner in which he led the people to worship the Lord and walk in obedience to His ways. Therefore, when he trusted God to overcome the insurmountable odds that faced him in the battle the Lord acted according to His will and defeated Jeroboam and his army.
Perhaps the key to victory for the faithful is not only the faith required to trust God in the heat of the battle. Perhaps the more difficult part of the battle is walking in fellowship with God when there is no crisis?